Sunday, February 08, 2009

You've been sentenced, James Wood

Several months ago, the following question showed up at trivia night: "Which vitriolic British critic coined the term 'hysterical realism' to describe the novels of Don DeLillo and Zadie Smith?" We got the right answer, James Wood, but I objected to "vitriolic" as not the first adjective I'd use to identify Wood. Since then, I've floated that adjective to various people, and some of them have agreed with the wording while others have come up with funnier answers. I laughed really hard at the final paragraph of this Colson Whitehead parody of Wood's How Fiction Works, but I won't lessen the effect by excerpting it here.

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